Massachusetts Seeks Plan B in Case Wynn Boston Harbor Sunk by Suitability Probe
Posted on: February 5, 2018, 10:00h.
Last updated on: February 5, 2018, 09:58h.
Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing for a ‘Plan B’ in case state regulators deem Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts unsuitable to be licensed for the Wynn Boston Harbor.
The company’s eponymous CEO is facing an investigation by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission over what the Wall Street Journal has called “a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct.”
Meanwhile, the Wynn Boston Harbor remains half-built. The $2.4 billion project in Everett, just north of Boston, has promised to generate 4,000 construction jobs and another 4,000 permanent jobs on its opening.
US Representative Michael Capuano (D – 7 Dist.) wants to know what will happen to the workers relying on these new vacancies if Wynn Resorts receives its marching orders.
If they pull the license, it’ll be a big question and they’ll have to make a determination, what to do with a building that’s half-built and what to do with all the people that are working there,” Capuano told Boston Herald Radio. “I know that’ll be a factor in the decision-making too, the state is not blind to that aspect of it.”
Wynn Boston Harbor on the Rocks?
Wynn Resorts won the hotly contested bidding war for the sole East Massachusetts casino license in September 2014, beating Mohegan Sun to the post.
Both Wynn and Wynn Resorts passed licensing suitability tests during the process. But Wynn’s apparent failure to declare that he allegedly paid $7.5 million in hush money to an employee who claimed he had pressured her into sex has caused the gaming commission to revisit the case.
The Bay State requires its gaming licensees maintain “integrity, honesty, good character, and reputation.”
The gaming commission will also examine the company’s possible complicity in keeping numerous allegations against its CEO quiet. The regulator has not outlined a timeline for the completion of its investigation but has said it will deliver an update on Wednesday.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has said he is “appalled” by the allegations and that if they are true, they would render Wynn unsuitable for licensing. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story of Wynn’s sexual misconduct, has speculated the company may have to “sell, or to break up, regardless of whether Mr. Wynn stays.”
Litany of Controversy
The east Massachusetts casino license has been dogged by controversy from the get-go. Early bidder Caesars Entertainment pulled out of the process and subsequently sued the gaming commission for unsubstantiated accusations of links to organized crime.
Meanwhile, the company that sold the land to Wynn Resorts on which the casino was to be built was accused of concealing that one of its directors, Charles A Lightbody, was a convicted felon with alleged Mob links.
Once the license for the Wynn Boston Harbor had been awarded, the City of Boston unsuccessfully sued the Massachusetts Gaming Commission over its decision to choose Wynn Resorts, thus denying it an $18 million a year payout from a host community compensation agreement with Mohegan Sun.
Wynn Resorts then sued the City of Boston for defamation over its claim the casino giant had been aware of irregularities over the land sale.
“This is not the first time there have been allegations of misconduct against major players in the casino business,” noted gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby at a hearing last week. “We will resolve this one way or another. I can’t predict what the outcome will be, but for now [Everett workers] should feel fine doing their jobs.”